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Key words
Australia, China, Russian and Chinese Metis
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: + 61 (4) 1103-70-65
Brennan MacCallum Building, NSW 2006, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
PhD Candidate, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydne

In the paper, descendants of cross-ethnic marriages between Russian women and Han Chinese men are observed by the author as two solid and mutually related communities. One is nowadays residing in Australia as a diaspora; the other is in the People’s Republic of China where the forebears of the first group resided. The author used the method of participant observation during his fieldwork in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China (2017) where he became acquainted with the origins of the Australian “Chinese-Russian” diaspora; he did not conduct research in Xinjiang where Chinese Russians also reside. The author’s perspective “starts from Australia”, whose capital Sydney is one of the most multiethnic and multicultural cities in the world. He suggests a special term to denote these communities — “Eluosi” (in Pinyin transcription from the Chinese 俄罗斯族), which means “Russian”, but with a special connotation. Local people in Australia mistake the diaspora under consideration as “Chinese”, whereas its members emphasise Russian aspects when constructing their identity. The author has tried to distinguish these features in spheres which involve issues of ethnic self-identity. He has questioned members of the diaspora from 2008 onwards. His method of fieldwork is participant observation, which has included volunteer activity within the diaspora in Sydney for several years. Among the main features of Eluosi identity are the language spoken by members of the community. Understanding this language must take into account the linguistic situation in China as the land of the diaspora’s origin and the influence of Orthodox Christianity, especially in the celebration of Orthodox Easter. The author also considers other outstanding features of material culture relevant to construction of the ethnic self-identity, especially female clothing, as well as house decorations. These are observed both for the Australian diaspora and for the land of their origin, that is, in PRC Inner Mongolia. The author’s approach belongs to the discipline of cultural anthropology and his research is focused on cross-ethnic couples, youth love and courtship, marriages and everyday circumstances within nuclear families. He has interviewed his respondents touching upon fragile and intimate issues of couples’ relationships during dramatic periods of social history in China and in Russian Transbaikalia of the 20th century and emigration to China. Due to issues of privacy compliances, no personal information is disclosed. In sum, the author concludes that Eluosi cultural transmission is female, the elusive heritage of “Grannies and mothers”, although still conscious of the fathers’ origin as Han Chinese.


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